Dental Cleaning

Dentist Appointment Time, please no low blood glucose…



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“I have a juicebox,” I told my dental hygienist, as my pump alarm beeped to warn me about an upcoming low blood glucose, as we were in the middle of a teeth cleaning.

My pancreas doesn’t work right, so it’s a full time job to manage my insulin and blood glucose levels. My insulin pump is awesome, but it has no idea that I have a dental cleaning coming up, so it’s up to me to manage my glucose levels, as best that I can. It can be rather unpredictable, at times.

You would think a dentist appointment wouldn’t be a big deal, but it seems that every new situation requires extra work to “get it right” — especially when it’s the first time I’ve done something since having an insulin pump… I have no idea on how my body will react.

Dental X-Rays

Plus, I get nervous about all kinds of things. Like X-rays. Oh, no, what should I do about x-rays? After a couple of dental appointments now, I’ve got my behavior down fine.

“OK if we do x-rays today?”

“Yes, can I have an apron to cover up my insulin pump?”

I can’t risk my insulin pump being exposed to x-rays. I tell her, “It’s like a small computer and can’t be exposed to x-rays.”

She’s understanding, but does she really understand? She asks me if my insulin pump connects to my phone. I tell her, no, my insulin pump model isn’t connected to my phone, but some of the newer models are. I take out my pump and show her what it looks like.

Preparing for a Dental Appointment

Because I have gum disease (See my previous post about gum health), I have to go for frequent cleanings, and you would think it’s not a big deal. However, I like to brush my teeth before getting my teeth cleaned, so I don’t want to eat anything right before the appointment. So, I’m always thinking, “please don’t go low.”

Now, I’ve gotten in the habit of setting a temporary basal rate so that my pump works to keep my glucose a little higher leading up to the appointment. (In Auto mode, this is the “exercise” setting.) I’d rather be a little high, then have hypoglycemia midway through the process.

The stress from the dental appointment makes my blood glucose go low… Now that I’ve seen it happen, I can try to predict it.

It’s sure hard doing the work of a pancreas. If I didn’t have diabetes, my pancreas would just handle these fluctuations. But, no, my body doesn’t work correctly, and so I had to manage glucose levels myself.


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